Friday - Feb 22, 2019

Home / Commentary / Fantasy Intelligence Report — Vol. 4

Fantasy Intelligence Report — Vol. 4


B.D.N. – Breaking Down News

East
We start out east in “big blue” country where Giants running back Brandon Jacobs isn’t too happy with his recent demotion, and had a few choice words when interviewed by ESPN after Thursday night’s preseason victory over the New England Patriots.

“No one’s your friend in this business,” Jacobs told ESPN. “This is a cutthroat, backstabbing business. That’s just the way it goes. It’s been like that before me. If you expect anything else out of a business like this, you’re crazy.

“If I would have stayed making minimum, this wouldn’t be a problem,” Jacobs said. “Once you get paid, you’re always in danger of running into problems like this. It doesn’t matter who you are or what team or organization you play for, that’s just the way it is.”

Head coach Tom Coughlin was shocked to hear some of the comments coming from his once top runner, but after a conversation with his bruising back Coughlin believes the two are now on the same page.

Ahmad Bradshaw will be the starter, has been impressive this offseason and looks like he could be the total package the Giants are looking for at the position.

The Giants host the Carolina Panthers in Week 1 in what I expect to be a battle on the ground. And while DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are both worthy starters on the Panthers side, I would only start Bradshaw on the big blue side until we get a feel for how many carries Jacobs is going to receive on a weekly basis.

Lake Erie
We don’t have to drive too far to get to yet another Cleveland disaster. The latest is that the Browns have lost key rookie running back Montario Hardesty for the season to a torn ACL. Obviously, this is terrible news for dynasty owners who were counting on Hardesty showing at least a little something-something this upcoming season. On the flip side, Jerome Harrison owners can breathe a sigh of relief, as this recent revelation now guarantees him at least 20-30 touches per game.

As for the backup spot, well that’s currently up for grabs with Peyton Hillis and James Davis leading the charge. In fact, according to
The Cleveland Leader, head coach Eric Mangini was impressed with Davis’ play on Thursday night against the Chicago Bears after the explosive back had to pick up the slack.

“I thought he looked good; I thought he showed a nice burst,” Mangini said. “As far as I could tell it looked like he was solid in pass protection, it’s a little bit tougher to evaluate from the sideline but he had opportunities and took advantage of those opportunities.”

While Davis did bring his best preseason performance at the perfect time don’t be surprised if the Browns utilize Hillis a lot more, or make a run at another running back who is a game changer just in case of disaster. One name that has been getting dangled to other NFL teams according to ESPN Dallas is Cowboys backup Tashard Choice, who could be a nice stop-gap at least until next season when Hardesty comes back.

South
One of the hot names in fantasy lately has been Houston Texans’ running back Arian Foster. Foster has had an excellent offseason and is in the driver’s seat to become the Texans top runner come opening day 2010, which is almost a guarantee at this point. He has been going as high as the third round in some drafts, but when you average six yards per carry as the starter in preseason play that’s destined to happen. The question is: are fantasy owners overreacting?

Now, the latest, according to
The Houston Chronicle, is that coach Garry Kubiak is insisting that they took a “chance” on Foster by signing him as an undrafted free agent post NFL draft during the 2009 offseason, and that he must keep up his high level of play.

“We saw a lot of talent, but there were obviously some knocks to keep him from being drafted,” Kubiak said. “I don’t remember as much injuries as they were having a bad year at Tennessee. We took a chance on him, and he’s kind of grown up. The talent’s there. Hopefully, he’ll keep it going.”

While “hopefully” is not exactly a reassuring word, it’s also a word that is sometimes used to alleviate pressure and lower contract expectations. Personally, I think  Kubiak’s latest words of wisdom were simply business related, and really should have no influence on how Foster should be judged heading in to regular season play. Lock him in to your starting lineup. He’s ready to roll.

West
The biggest news this week is out of Seattle, where the Seahawks will be saying goodbye to T.J. Houshmandzadeh; destination — unknown. The latest is that if they can’t find a trade partner they will cut the former superstar possession receiver. Why?

Well, according to
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the move is about head coach “Pete Carroll looking for his kind of players with a new offensive system and his ‘I’m in’ approach in the locker room.” In other words, it’s more about Houshmandzadeh’s attitude towards the “team-first” concept and less about his contract situation.

I don’t buy it. And, while I respect the fact that the Seahawks’ new regime is trying to make it seem like they’re trying to prove a point, I’m not sure that putting his (Carroll) own player that he coached in Mike Williams, who hasn’t proven anything since his college days for a veteran like Houshmandzadeh, who has put up solid NFL numbers, is exactly the right football move.

But, what irritates me the most is the irresponsibility of the Seahawks’ new coach to play favoritism towards a player like Williams because he coached him in college, and make him the top starter over a budding star like Deon Butler.  Butler has been a one man wrecking crew this offseason with dazzling highlight reel catches, and moments where he commanded the attention of on-lookers, with the more recent being his seven-catch 101-yard, one-touchdown outburst in the final preseason game against the Oakland Raiders.

Following the game, coach Carroll said, “Deon was really on fire tonight. He’s had a great preseason. He is by far the most improved player on the offensive side of the ball. He really is a factor and I’m excited about that. We weren’t sure how that was going to pan out. But, he’s really made effective plays, so we’ll look for him to help.”

Most improved player on offense? To help? If that’s what he thinks of Butler, then the Seahawks will be in for a long season, especially if they don’t get this kid on the field as a starter at some point. Stay tuned, as I’m sure coach Carroll isn’t as dumb as he’s appearing to be right now.

R.D.A.T.N. – RapidDraft ADPs To Note
Since our own Tony Holm is one of minds behind the avatar Ashlei over at RapidDraft.com, I thought it would be fitting to note a few players whose average draft positions (ADPs) seem to be rising.

Arian Foster — A month ago Foster’s RapidDraft ADP was at 149.1. Now, several hundred drafts later, it has risen to 103.5. I expect it to continue to rise heading in to the final week before the regular season. As noted above, he is the hot ticket.

Mike Williams — Early last month many were projecting that Arrelious Benn could be the receiver that emerges as the Buccaneers’ top rookie weapon. However, because of his solid training camp and preseason performances, Williams has seen his RapidDraft value lifted from 149 to 138.55 in the past month, while Benn’s value has gone down 10-plus points.

Bernard Berrian — Berrian’s value has seen a big spike lately. To begin August his RapidDraft ADP was at 142. Now it’s ascended to 131, and it continues to rise due to the somewhat recent news regarding Sidney Rice’s hip injury that will keep him out at least the first six games of the season.

S.O.V. – Speaking Out Violently
My gasket has been blown. I’m officially sick and tired of the “sports” guys on local and national talk shows calling fantasy football gurus and avid followers like myself the jock version of the Dungeons and Dragons geek.

At this point I’m ready to start naming names and slipping right uppercuts, so let’s get this rumble going.

My top target this week is OnMilwaukee.com’s Dave Begel.  Now, Begel likes to draw attention to himself by constructing opinion based pieces that make you laugh both with him and at him. But sometimes his pieces go a little too far, as was the case when it came to his recent rant about fantasy football.

In a piece posted on Aug. 24, 2010 he said this:

“Here’s a typical Sunday for a non-fantasy man: wake up and check his e-mail and the weather. Find a pair of spikes in the back of the closet. Find the torn shorts last worn last year. Get in the car and throw the fast food wrappers in the back seat. Pick up a buddy and go to the park. Play football. Rain and/or snow make it better. He wipes the blood off his hands. Get to the bar in time for red hot wings, cold beer and kickoff. Sit near the cute chicks wearing cut-off referee shirts.”

“Here’s Sunday for a fantasy football fan: Mom wakes him up with a gentle knock on the door, a bowl of Malt-O-Meal and a cup of hot chocolate. Put ironing board up and iron a pair of navy blue Dockers and a matching shirt, purchased as a complete outfit from Sears. Boot up all four computers in his room while making the bed and tucking all the corners in tight. He aligns the three posters on his wall -Bill Gates, Janet Reno and Don Shula – so they are all the same height.”

Now it’s my turn!

Dear Mr. Begel,

Your analysis of fantasy football is something that I would hear spewed out of an old fashioned rocker recliner fan, who is also known from time-to-time to mouth off every time he sees Chad Ochocinco sink a putt in the end zone. Fantasy football players are not those who play Dungeons and Dragons and have sleepovers while bunking at their parents’ houses. 

In fact, per a Harris poll heading in to 2003, there were 30 million people playing the game of fantasy football, with 6.5 million being women. Now, I’m no math genius, but that’s a lot of Janet Reno posters that I guarantee were and are not available, especially to those who play darts.   Unless of course, you’re talking about the colorful backside shots that are printed for kids to play pin the tail on the donkey.    

Moreover, what you described as “playing football” happens to be exactly what most of us fantasy experts in the industry, including myself, actually do and have done in the past. The only difference is that we don’t leave as many fast food wrappers laying in our cars, are not dumb enough to suffer any lacerations while playing a competitive game of catch at a local park, and some of us actually do have wives and/or children to go home to, even though we may dream about going to Hooters every Sunday.  It’s called being responsible, Dave.

Besides, if you think that you are one of those “non-fantasy men” who bleeds red and eats chicken wings on Sundays I would hate to see what your “cute chicks” indeed look like.

The point here is that those who hate the game of fantasy football like Begel, and ESPN’s Colin Cowherd, don’t have “peripheral vision,” and instead see only what they want to see. Eventually though, it will catch up with them, and they will give in once they realize how important fantasy football truly is to even the average NFL fan.

It’s a new generation, Cowherd. As you like to say, “You have to see things before they land.”

Thanks for reading!

Eric Huber is a staff writer for Fantasysharks.com.

About Fantasy Sharks

FantasySharks.com began in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is, or has been, home to some of the most talented and best known fantasy writers on the planet. Owned and operated by Tony Holm (5 time Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall-of-Fame nominee,) Tony started writing fantasy content in 1993 for the only three fantasy football web sites in existence at the time.